Ex-CA executives forge new path with Quattro

Lebanon-based business development specialist Quattro Associates was created at the end of last year by a group of ex-CA Middle East executives who wanted to provide emerging security vendors with access to the regional market. The company’s chairman, Amar Wadjih, explains how Quattro is making its way in the market by taking a highly-focused and specialised approach to channel development.

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Ex-CA executives forge new path with Quattro
By  Andrew Seymour Published  October 21, 2010

Channel Middle East: What was the reason for founding Quattro?

Amar Wadjih: The company has four co-founders, including myself, who were all working for CA in the region. Last year, CA was downsizing in this area so we were all available and we sat together and said to ourselves, ‘what are the needs of the market in terms of technology and coverage or go-to-market?’ So we started up this company and decided to call it the IT-MAG, which stands for the information technology market access gateway.

Channel Middle East: So how would you describe this ‘gateway’?

Amar Wadjih: It is basically a service that we provide to international vendors which have a strong technology offering, but are not present in the region. It works like an indirect model — we provide all the partner enablement, technical enablement, business development and follow-ups in the market, and act as a direct customer interface as well. Our role is to develop business and enable the channels for these vendors. That is one aspect where we provide a service, and then we also have our core competency from our technology background of security, ITSM and ITIL processes.

Channel Middle East: How many vendors are you currently working with?

Amar Wadjih: We have signed agreements as IT-MAG with several companies specialising in IT security. They do not compete with each other or have any overlap in the business they do. We have around six representations for the region. When sourcing vendors we try to be selective and avoid going into mass market competition. All of the applications we have selected so far are really for niche markets and are very new.

Channel Middle East: And what do these vendors do?

Amar Wadjih: We work with a company called AlienVault, which provides security information and event monitoring. This basically monitors all the attacks, incidents and intrusions in your IT infrastructure. We are also working with another company called Bit9 in an area called application whitelisting. This is a security offering for large enterprises to ensure that malware has not intruded their antivirus systems.

Channel Middle East: What can you do for a company that doesn’t have any presence in the Middle East but wants to build a channel?

Amar Wadjih: Firstly, we can offer ‘pre-sales’ services. We would hire partners for these companies and carry out the partner enablement for them, whether it is in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon or somewhere else. We identify the best partner for the type of business or industry and we enable them technically to sell the solution. We would also go individually to customers to do business development and provide solution implementation services in the event we won the business.

Channel Middle East: What can you offer that other channel development firms can’t?

Amar Wadjih: We really help companies to get access to the market here through the channel by providing the know-how, expertise and quality assurance in terms of end-user delivery, service and support. We develop the channel — the ecosystem — based on our expertise. For example, I have been in Saudi Arabia for 18 years running Sun and CA, so I know the channel and the customers. My colleagues, for example, are in Levant where they have a lot of experience.

Channel Middle East: Are you mainly focusing on Saudi Arabia and Levant then?

Amar Wadjih: We are focusing on the META region, which is the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa, but we have segregated the business. I am focusing on Saudi Arabia, Tony Prince is focusing on the Levant area (which he used to cover at Intel and CA) and for us this includes Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq. Then we have Elie Dib taking care of the Gulf region.

Channel Middle East: How much risk is there of you developing a capable channel for a vendor, only for that vendor to eventually come into the market and do it all themselves?

Amar Wadjih: This is always a possibility, of course, because when you make the scale of the market opportunity interesting for them they could think it is time for them to step in. But don’t forget that we have all the internal skills and knowledge of their solutions, so the temptation could probably be to buy some of our know-how.

Channel Middle East: What are your objectives for Quattro Associates moving forward?

Amar Wadjih: Our aim is to develop the business for these large vendors, take care of their interests and, of course, grow the business. We want to become a reference point when people talk about security solutions for SIEM or application whitelisting in the market.

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